Apocalypse When: Why the latest employee mandate isn’t the end of the world as we know it

One of the most controversial provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the employer mandate has been set in motion recently. Many Americans across the country are up in arms over whether this will cause companies to fire workers, cut their hours or shut down completely. Yes, these are real fears and yes, they are completely ridiculous.
Summing up the mandate as briefly as possible, the law requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance to 95 percent of employees or else subjected to a fee (up to $2,000 per employee not covered).

But here’s the thing that makes all of the debates and criticism seem kind of silly: according to the U.S. Treasury, only 4 percent of businesses in the US meet the requirement of having more than 50 full-time employees. According to Obamacarefacts, what’s more, of that 4 percent that qualify, a large majority of those companies already provide sufficient, affordable healthcare to their employees.

So basically this employee mandate was set in motion to help nudge large companies who don’t feel providing basic healthcare to their employees is important or in the budget. While premiums are rising for a large majority of American companies, this is separate from the implementation of the mandate, which again will only affect a small handful of businesses in Georgia.

Investors.com has compiled a database of businesses affected by the AFA as a means to help give both supporters and critics an informed opinion. On the list, there were 13 recorded companies in Georgia (10 of those being public entities such as county governments) that have had to cut hours or cap their part-time workers hours. According to Georgia.org, there are 667,712 registered businesses in Georgia and 95 percent of those employ less than 50 people.

So lets crunch some numbers for fun. In all fairness, I’m going to assume more than the 13 companies listed have been affected in Georgia. So let’s say that 100 companies will be impacted from the AFA’s employee mandate. That would still only be less than 0.01 percent of companies affected in Georgia. To put this in perspective, your business has a slightly higher chance of getting struck by lightning than being negatively being affected by Obamacare this year.

And that’s why I get perturbed when I hear doomsday level fear-mongering from the talking heads in the media about this issue. This can be said about a handful of issues in our country today, but blowing issues out of proportion seems to be the new hot thing to do. The sad part is, it usually works. Outraged citizens make for much better headlines and stories than satisfied citizens and their stories make for much more interesting political fodder for the upcoming election season (which will be starting up this summer…).

The media onslaught of trepidation from both the left and right is commonplace in modern politics, but I urge everyone to not let these distractions negatively impact you. The best remedy for avoiding the bias and slant is to become as informed as possible on the topics. So before I leave you, I’ll drop some essential facts you should know.

According to the study, “Delaying the Employer Mandate” by Carter Price and Evan Saltzman, with the mandate in full effect, 251.1 million Americans will have health coverage by 2016. If there were no mandate, that number would drop to 250.9 million. However, in doing so, there would be no revenue from penalties for companies not joining the mandate. In the same study, that lost revenue was estimated to be $46 billion over a ten-year period.

Statistics are very powerful and in-depth studies are very informative. Basing your opinion on a segment of the O’Reilly Factor or an Op-Ed in the New York Times, however, is a quick way of becoming biased and left with shallow information. So get out there, get informed and don’t let fear cloud your judgement!